Any group sport will teach you how to be a team player. The 2016 Rio Olympics are full of team sports including rowing, basketball, soccer, beach volleyball and field hockey. These Olympic athletes will be the first to tell you that team unification is key to success. If one player is off, it throws off the whole team. If the coach doesn’t lead with focus, vision and goals, the team will never get the gold. Team unification is also extremely important in a workplace setting. Just like Olympic athletes, if one employee is off, it can derail the whole team. And if the manager doesn’t have focus, vision and goals, just like a coach, the team will be thrown overboard. Luckily, there are new tools, like internal communications apps such as Connecteam, that help train mobile, remote, dispersed and non-desk employees into a unified and successful team.
Use internal communication apps for task management
In a unified team, each team member is clear on their role and knows what exactly they need to do to help the team succeed as a whole. In all team sports, such as basketball, each player’s position is different and works in synchronicity to bring about the intended goal. The point guard’s position is very different than the forward, and each relies on each other to do their role correctly in order to score. Likewise, in a workplace setting, especially a team that is dispersed geographically, each worker needs to know their role and how this contributes to the overall team. One’s role, at it’s most basic level, is a set of tasks that make up a worker’s contribution to the team. Being clear on these tasks is vital to both individual and team success. An employee communications app that includes task management achieves this balance of individual task management and team success.
Checklists, like the feature included in the Connecteam employee app, allow a manager to create uniform checklists for one’s job duties, also to ensure compliance using the uploading of files (documents, pictures and videos). This form of task management ensures that each team member is clear on their job duties, including each step along the way, to bring about team unification and success.
Use it for feedback
The most valuable information in a team setting is one’s strengths and weaknesses. The best leaders are highly emotionally intelligent and understand each of their team member’s skills. To invest in each and every team member, these amazing leaders then communicate this back to their team by way of a feedback loop. As a manager, if you are in tune to your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, you can praise for each success and provide constructive feedback when they need help. Note that the tone of the constructive feedback must be sensitive, positive and timely in order for it to be effective and not actually do the opposite of what you intend. Employees respond best to constructive feedback when they have first established a positive and trusting relationship with their manager and feel as though the manager is happy with their work so far. Once trust and emotional safety are established, then you can start providing the feedback that will ultimately help them improve and grow.
An employee communications app comes into play as the platform for communication and feedback. If you want to recognize a worker’s success, such as reaching their sales target, or getting great reviews from a customer, you as a manager can push out notifications to your workers, either individually or to the whole team. Publicly recognizing individuals with positive feedback (with a team notification or SMS) will have a huge positive effect on the worker’s confidence and responsibility towards his/her job. Furthermore, it encourages increased employee engagement. You can even incorporate some type of reward, such as a gift card or being entered to win a prize at the end of the month or the quarter. Providing both positive and constructive feedback helps employees feel recognized and invested in, both indispensable in team unification.
Use it for training
Olympic athletes only make the Olympics by training almost their whole lives to become the best at one thing. Even though your average Joe employee won’t beat Usain Bolt’s record or swim like Michael Phelps, he can engage in training that will clarify his role and responsibilities, making him the best team player that he can be. Onboarding, when an employee starts out, as well as ongoing employee training is highly effective in bringing about team unification and cohesion.
Internal communications apps are effective and efficient ways of training employees since employees can self-administer training rather than led by managers. When a manager gives an employee a task to do on his own, she is in essence showing trust in her employees by giving him the responsibility to do it himself. This building of trust and responsibility fosters team cohesion and unification that starts with a positive message from the manager, essentially saying, “I trust you enough to complete this task on your own.”
The practical benefits of self-led training stems from the fact that the majority of people nowadays are non-office employees which is estimated to grow to almost three quarters of the working population by 2020. Non-office employees can peruse onboarding and training materials on their own time while tracking their progress and how much of the training materials they have completed. Managers can also create libraries of information that are accessible to employees wherever, whenever.
A unified vision for internal company communications
A true team, whether in sports, work or otherwise, must have a unified vision and goals. A leader’s job is to make that vision known; in other words, what are we working towards? In retail, it can be to provide the best possible customer service while bringing in a set amount of revenue. In the restaurant industry, it may be to serve creative, delicious and healthy food. In delivery service, it might be to serve the customers in the best way possibly by being on time, communicating well and delivering precious goods with care. Whatever your vision or goal is, communicate that to your team to build vision and unification. An employee communication app helps this vision by creating a team dynamic that serves this goal- through understanding one’s role, giving and receiving feedback to inspire and grow, and giving employees the space to improve, train and get better. And that, my friends, will get you the gold.